If 2009 was the year of the pop-up shop, then 2010 is set to be the year of the concept store. In the UK (OK, London), Dover Street Market and The Shop at Bluebird first set the tone, Liberty followed suit with its personal touches and now Anthropologie has raised the bar further. Couturelab, the online luxury portal recently opened its beautiful concept store on Davies Street, an outlet that is just as compelling as its online counterpart. Meanwhile, Darkroom (above) has just opened in Lambs Conduit Street selling under-the-radar fashion alongside interiors with in-store exhibitions a major focus.
Come January, Harvey Nichols London’s newly spruced-up fourth floor is set to be the next big buzz. It will have a concept store feel with a frequently evolving product mix including exclusive and limited edition collections, a Lanvin ‘supermarket of luxury’ curated by Alber himself and a buy-it-or-regret-it collection of vintage magazines (ooh), furniture (aah) and books (I’ll take ‘em all).
The keyword for concept stores seems to be ‘edit’. It’s all about the precise mix of labels and the perfect ratio between new, vintage and limited edition. I think the other key point is to keep things changing constantly. Every time I visit a store I want to discover a surprise, something that wasn’t there before. It’s all part of the experience, otherwise why brave the crowds when I can shop online anytime and pretty much anywhere?
By the way, the concept store trend isn’t limited to London. There is a major luxury concept store arriving in Manchester in February 2010. Hervia, the company responsible for eight of Vivienne Westwood’s standalone stores is behind Hervia Bazaar, an impressive-sounding retail space and etail site
. Designers slated for the store include Comme Des Garcons, Sibling, Zero+Maria Cornejo, Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh alongside lesser-known names such as shoesmiths Michael Lewis and Atlanta Weller.
Exciting, no? Watch this space for further updates…